The vagina is a muscular but elastic organ that is capable of doing incredible things. Its walls contain thin layers of coating moisture that provide lubrication. This moisture also provides the vagina with an alkaline environment suitable for the survival of sperm during sexual reproduction. Vaginal lubrication differs based on age, hormone production, medication, surgery, menopause, and many others. As you continue to read this article, we will discuss the cause and symptoms of vaginal dryness, and possible solutions to regain lubrication
Vaginal dryness is a common symptom affecting 1 out of 3 menopausal women though this condition can occur before menopause. Estrogen helps to maintain vaginal fluid and keep the vaginal lining elastic and thick. When estrogen decreases, the amount of fluid in the vaginal also decreases, resulting in dryness. Low estrogen can affect any woman at any age. Vaginal dryness can be painful and irritative, particularly during sexual intercourse. Lack of moisture in the vagina can have negative impacts on one's quality of life and relationship.
Causes of Vaginal Dryness
There are several causes of vaginal dryness. Lack of estrogen production is often the cause. Menopause is usually the first culprit when levels of estrogen drop drastically, but aging may also affect estrogen levels. As menstruation stops, estrogen production tends to stop. Remember, estrogen is essential to maintaining the lubrication that the vaginal environment thrives in.
Other causes of vaginal dryness include but is not limited to:
- Scented Feminine Hygiene Products
- Perfumed Soaps
- Lack of Foreplay
- Immune System Disorder
- Sjögren's Syndrome
- Pelvis Radiation
- Anti-estrogen Medications
- Hormone Therapy
- Depression/ Anti-depression Medication
- Allergy and Cold Medications
- Smoking Cigarette
Symptoms of Vaginal Dryness
No matter the cause of vaginal dryness, it is a painful and irritating condition that affects the quality of one’s relationship, especially sex relations. Other underlying symptoms common amongst those who suffer from vaginal dryness are:
- Painful Intercourse
- Light Bleeding After Sex
- Vaginal/Pelvic Discomfort
- Burning Sensation
- Vaginal Itching
- Vaginal Stinging
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
- Lower Libido
Treatments for Vaginal Dryness
Effective treatments for vaginal dryness include over-the-counter medications such as using lubricants during sex to taking estrogen therapy. There are also other methods to soothe and treat this painful syndrome.
- Moisturizing Cream or Balm - to help keep the vagina hydrated and moisturized. (Our Kushae Protective Feminine Skin Balm naturally lubricates dry vulvar/vaginal skin (like lip balm for THOSE lips!)
- Water-based Lubricants with NO perfumes or artificial colors - to lessen bacterial irritation and damage to condoms.
- Estrogen Therapy - decreases discomfort during sex, restores pH-balanced, and regulates bacteria. Estrogen therapy includes but is not limited to:
- Estrogen Pill - small tablets inserted into the vagina with an applicator that releases estrogen to the body; helps with hot flashes
- Estrogen Cream - release estrogen to body tissues
- Estrogen Ring - release estrogen to body tissues; needs to be removed and replaced every 3 months;
- Ospemifene - tablet containing estrogen; best for women who are not suitable for estrogen therapy.
Vaginal dryness affects women of any age though it is a more common symptom among menopausal women. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to vaginal dryness. It is a normal and common condition among women. With the several effective treatments for vaginal dryness, you do not have to suffer alone. Ladies, speak to your physician about your concerns with vaginal dryness and figure out what the best treatment method is for you.
Written by Christelle Colas